Tag Archives: Film

Arrival – What is Your Purpose on Earth?

It’s always a tough decision. Do I buy a ticket to yet another dystopian, futuristic, science fiction bleak house of a film? Last year I bought one for Ex Machina, which caught me by complete surprise. Armed with that memory I decided to take a chance on Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival. The carefully crafted screenplay by Eric Heisserer is based on […]

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Oliver Stone’s Snowden – There Are Many Ways to Serve Your Country

Traitor or Whistleblower? This question might cross the mind settling in for a screening of Oliver’s Stone’s first feature film in four years; Snowden. We are steered to a specific message, nothing unusual for Mr. Stone. He provides his usual dose of investigative dramatic filmmaking; a style he owns. In short order we become less obsessed […]

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The Stakes are High in The Big Short

Adam McKay’s take on the bestseller by Michael Lewis is an investigative romp leading up to the financial meltdown that began in 2007. It’s full of colorful characters and even more colorful language. Mr. McKay uses voiceover and direct talking into an always moving, manic camera. He intercuts images, sounds and liberal use of the close-up […]

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“The Martian” and his Earthlings

Mars has long been the muse to writers, scientists and moviemakers. A wikipedia search for “films about Mars” will yield a page that lists 66 titles although many of them were television shows. The most common plot line that emerges when Mars and Earth are in the same script turns out to be mostly bad for Earthlings. We often […]

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The Counselor (Unrated and Extended Version) – Film Review

I first saw The Counselor when it was released in 2013. I was attracted to it because of the strong cast (Brad Pitt, Javier Bardhem, Cameron Diaz and Michael Fassbender), a solid director in Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy as the screenwriter. Mr. McCarthy has reached esteemed status as a novelist and his screen adaption […]

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My Annual Oscar Picks – 2014

It’s that time again. The Academy hands out their picks for best of every category. They can select 10 films for best picture, but apparently could find only nine worthy of the crown. The pictures span history, deep drama, AIDS, hijacking, swindle and a celestial exploration of the human spirit, untethered in space. Observations. Although […]

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Inside Llewyn Davis – Film Review

The Coen’s never make it easy on the audience. They weave their stories from the inside out. The very inner circle is deep with details and rich in emotion and meaning. As the circles swirl outward the fidelity of the details is dialed back. Occasionally they circle back to the inside but then come right […]

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Side Effects – Film Review

The release of the psychological thriller Side Effects brings with it good news and bad news. First the bad news. Director Steven Soderbergh has announced this is will be his last feature film. He’s retiring from moviemaking (I don’t believe it, or just refuse to believe it). Now the good news, we get the chance to see […]

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My Oscar Picks for 2013

The 85th Academy Awards ceremony is only a day away. So many terrific films and excellent performances this past year has caused me lots of back and forth in filling out my ballot. In my opinion there are only two slam dunks; Daniel Day-Lewis for actor and Anne Hathaway for supporting actress. The rest are […]

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Zero Dark Thirty – Film Review

2012 will be remembered as the year the movies took back their time slot. The year the industry remembered they have a super power; making big, ambitious, thought-provoking pictures and damn the running time or who might be protesting. Six major feature films released in the fall/winter season topped the two hour twenty minute mark. […]

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The Season of the Film

Autumn brings impossible colors and crisp nights. It also beckons the best films of the year to the screen. We have suffered through the winter drought, the spring chick flicks (no offense ladies) and the summer explosions to finally emerge on the other side. We are now in film art territory and I couldn’t be […]

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Hugo (3D) – Film Review

I had given up hope that Martin Scorsese would ever make a picture aimed at all ages. With his love of film and unsurpassed knowledge of the art form, I felt he was a natural. But with New York as your muse, there are more serious matters to attend to. Turns out, Scorsese was hit […]

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My Oscar Picks for 2011

This Sunday, February 27, 2011 will be the 83rd annual Oscar awards presentation. An art form with a storied past, and I believe a bright future. Although India churns out many more pictures than the U.S. each year, the art of the film and the studio are uniquely American. I’m still getting used to having […]

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Me and Orson Welles – Film Review

I have been fascinated with Orson Welles since I was a boy. I had heard the recording of his famous War of the Worlds radio broadcast at an early age, and one of the first films I remember thinking hard about was Citizen Kane. Genuine prodigies, which is how I would categorize Mr. Welles, are […]

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Moon – Film Review

The classic science fiction drama has been all but dead for nearly a decade. Thoughtful, provocative storytelling of another place in time and space is a rarity in today’s U.S. cinema. The last one that comes to mind was Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris, and it was based on the novel by prolific writer Stanislaw Lem. I, […]

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Slumdog Millionaire – Film Review

Update: Slumdog Millionaire nominated for 10 Academy Awards! Go to official Oscar site here. I settled into my seat in the Landmark Renaissance Place Cinema in Highland Park, Illinois expecting to see an interesting film set in India. I knew it was the story of an indigent young man from Mumbai who has a reversal […]

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Movie Studios Try to Reinvent Themselves in 3D

U.S. film studios enjoyed a lock on the moving picture experience for many years before television invited itself to the party. Movie moguls were afraid that television was replicating the movie house experience so they completely changed the format from a standard 4:3 aspect ratio screen to a much wider screen. This helped them differentiate […]

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Settling the Screen Actors Guild Dispute: A Proposal

The Screen Actor’s Guild is on the verge a strike, much like the writers last year. At issue is the amount of compensation actors receive from digital/internet medium revenues collected by the studios. Standard contracts were written before the internet was a mass medium and the actors want the terms adjusted. They feel the studios […]

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Paul Newman – Icon of the Screen is Dead at 83

My earliest memory of Paul Newman was in 1967 when my family was on our annual summer vacation at my Uncle’s lake house in Michigan. It was a small city that had only one movie theater. They were screening Cool Hand Luke that July, and I remember it well, “What we have here is a […]

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The Power of Film – Pangea Day 2008

Pangea means entire earth. The supercontinent of 250 million years ago before the land masses separated into today’s configuration. At that time the world was one. Today it’s still one, of course, and we are all of the human race. But we have so far to go when it comes to tolerance, understanding and embracing […]

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